For the smallest state, Rhode Island makes up for what it lacks in size with charm.
From darling shops, to picturesque harbors, to stunning mansions, you’re sure to fall under this snack-sized state’s magnetic spell.
I’ve now visited Newport a total of three times: once for a vacation, once for my bachelorette, and most recently for a daytime excursion. Each time I return, my fondness only grows.
So whether you’re considering a brief day-trip to Newport or a more extended getaway incorporating nearby Narragansett and Jamestown, here are some favorite Instagrammable spots that you won’t want to miss.
Back in 2013, I first discovered Newport’s beauty and fell head-over-heels in love with the Gilded Age mansions. I was lucky enough to tour The Breakers (the most famous, dating back to 1895) as well as The Elms.
While these were by far my favorites and the ones I most recommend, be advised that you’ll need to pay to enter and roam the grounds. If you’re interested in exploring either of these on your visit, head here for the various tour and pricing options.
However, since my husband and I were more interested in photographing mansion exteriors on this particular trip, we opted to visit the free ones, which you can find along Newport’s famous Cliff Walk.
This public access road is 3.5 miles long and runs along the shore. It makes for a relaxing and picturesque hike and gives you an interesting perspective on a bunch of the mansions.
You may actually be surprised to hear that both of the mansions we visited are now actually part of Salve Regina University, a prestigious Catholic school.
I especially loved Ochre Court, pictured below.
Built between 1888 and 1892, this mansion once served as the summer residence of Ogden Goelet, an American heir and businessman. In 1947, the Goelet family gifted the home to the Religious Sisters of Mercy for the establishment of Salve Regina.
The other was McAuley Hall, an 1883 Romanesque style mansion that now houses classrooms, academic departments, and offices.
You can find this irresistibly darling clothing shop on Spring Street.
Continuing to wander the charming streets, I was struck by the beautiful yellow awnings of Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant.
Although we didn’t stop for a bite this time, I will surely be back for the full experience! This American restaurant is located on iconic Thames Street.
After doing a “Last sail before the veil” for my bachelorette, I love coming back and reliving the magic of Newport’s harbor.
However, it’s definitely the liveliest (and in my opinion, the prettiest) in the warmer months, when the restaurants along the harbor are illuminated with twinkling lights at night.
That said, anytime you visit it’s definitely worth some harbor shots for the gram.
Visiting a lighthouse is essentially a rite of passage in New England. While I didn’t explore any in Newport itself, I did return to Beavertail Lighthouse, just a ten minute drive away in historic Jamestown.
The third-oldest lighthouse in North America, this beautiful landmark overlooks peaceful Narragansett Bay and is one of my favorites in Rhode Island.
If you’re interested in learning more about the lighthouse’s history, you can visit the on-site Beavertail Lighthouse Museum from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even climb up to the top of the tower and enjoy the view during the same time frame (weather permitting).
The Towers of Narragansett round off our Instagrammable list.
An icon of Narragansett’s laidback seaside town, The Towers are a popular venue for both public events and private functions. Located on Ocean Road, they are the only remaining element of the Narragansett Pier Casino from the 1880s.
Despite them being highly photogenic, I’ve never experienced overcrowding near The Towers and have always found it relatively easily to snap some pictures (save for cars passing by).
While Providence unfortunately didn’t make the list due to an already jam-packed day, I definitely recommend paying it a visit as well.
So, now that I’ve shared my favorite Rhode Island gems, I’m curious to know if you’ve visited America’s smallest state. If so, what Instagrammable charms have you found? Let me know in the comments!
If you haven’t made the trip just yet, be sure to pin this to your boards as inspiration for your future travels. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!